The past few days have been interesting in America’s democratic procedure. All eyes have been on America. A leading democratic nation that prides herself in upholding the value of democracy. America does not just export gadgets and technology, her democratic values set the bar for many nations across the world to follow. As the whole world has been witnessing in the past few days, America too has her challenges.
Currently, America is suffering from a deep cut of self-inflicting wounds. The incumbent president, despite President Trump’s shameful insistence on turning America’s democracy into a global laughing stock, the American institutions held on to their values. They deserved to be honoured for their astute and strict adherence to the rules.
Immediately it became clear that Joe Biden was almost certainly going to win, the secret service automatically extended their protection to him, even as the sitting president was still crying foul. They did not have to wait to receive an order from anybody, not even from the president. Processes are automatically triggered irrespective of whoever is involved.
As the president was screaming and threatening the American democracy with legal challenges, counting of votes continued. He lacks the power to stop them. A whole president? Several litigations brought by his team to stop the counting have been thrown out by the courts for lack of evidence.
Even the media cut him off when he started making unfounded allegations during a live press conference.
If President Trump can order the military or national guards to shut down those vote counting centres, he would have done so. But he knows the military will not obey such order, their allegiance is not to him even though he is the Commander-in-Chief. They swear their oath of office to the American people and the constitution, not an individual. This brings to mind the shameful shooting of the peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate by the Nigerian army.
The question now is, who does the Nigerian Army swear their oath, the Nigerian constitutions and Nigerians or the politicians?
The mature, peaceful election procedure and its aftermath we have been following in American can only happen in a country with strong and independent institutions, a country where institutions superseded individuals.
The events of the past few days have been a test of the strength of America’s institutions, and so far, they have succeeded. They have proven that despite all its challenges, America’s democracy is too matured to be held hostage by any power-drunk individual.
Institutions control nations, not individuals. There are three separate arms of governments, they are; the executive, the legislature & judiciary. These institutions are independent of each other. That is how nations function. No presidential executive order could or should supersede the final decisions of the supreme court.
As we are all following this worthy ’democratic value’ being displayed in America, let us think about Nigeria. What can we learn from this? Had this been in Nigeria, how would the two main parties handle the situation? How would the police and the army react? The party supporters, what would their reaction be by now?